Review by OldManNintendo
Give me Deus Ex.
Once again there's a series being revived by people who had nothing to do with the original; is this game truly a sequel worthy of its name or is this another *insert disappointing/horrible sequel here, preferably Final Fantasy XIII*.
Going into this game I was pretty sceptical, most of the things I found charming about the first game are usually not found in modern games; rewards for exploration, a health bar that's not afraid to stay in the red until you find a source of healing unlike the evolved human beings we see nowadays in games that recover it automatically in a couple of seconds (with a title like Human Revolution I guess I'm screwed on this one then) and things like interactive environments etc.
Right in the first room of the game some of my worries were laid to rest when I found out I could interact with several things in the room, I could check the computer, read the news, get responses from a nearby character by investigating certain items and so on. Further into the games I learned the limits of this too but as long as you're not buying this game to throw things that are not boxes, vending machines, refrigerators or fire extinguishers at NPCs and enemies you don't have to worry.
Play the way that you want to play...
One of the great things about the original was the great amount of ways you could approach any situation. You could sneak, shoot or hack your way through most of the situations.If you didn't like fighting the bosses you could just run, or if you had found them, you could use the bosses' killswitch phrase to prove the pen being stronger than the sword theory. In this one it's mostly the same. Luckily for us our main character Adam Jensen's been augmented to the teeth with augmentations after an accident in the tutorial. This gives him a wide array of powers such as enhanced speed and strength, hacking skills, invisibility, the ability to see enemies through walls, the infamous recharging health bar and more.
Using skills requires energy though which are represented by batteries which you can have up to 5 of. The developers were nice enough to see to it that 1 battery recharged if you ran out though so you'd never be left without skills to use. You don't start out with all the skills though so you have to either find praxis kits or get enough experience points to unlock new ones or upgrade existing ones.
As I mentioned earlier it's mostly the same as the last one only that it's more thought out. This game feels much more regulated than the original. In this case it feels like a bad thing. It doesn't feel as clever to do things when it feels like you're being directed by the developers. Every time I feel like I'm doing something clever like what I did in the original Mr. Invisible Wall slaps me on the hand and says that using enhanced jumping to jump over a wall is so year 2000. Instead he points me to a conveniently placed air duct and I crawl through wondering if the next game will tell you when you're allowed to jump. Don't get me wrong, jumping still allows for a bit of freedom but it's a minor step back from the originals freedom and I find invisible walls a bad design choice.
The hacking on the other hand now has a mini-game instead of a bar slowly being drained. It's a combination of luck and thoughtful planning as you capture points without alerting the firewall while you try to either capture certain core points or the firewall itself to successfully hack whatever it is you're hacking. It gets a thumbs up as far as hacking mini-games goes.
I also want to mention the conversation system that lets you convince people to tell you important things or makes them do certain things for you. It's a nice way to avoid conflicts when available and it saves you some work while also giving you more control of the story.
The shooting is... what it is. It's a bit more than your standard cover-based iron-sight filled shooter since the augmentations spices things up a bit such as using the mentioned vending machines etc. as
shields and turning the cloak on to change position. The mouse aim also feels a bit off. I guess there's some mouse smoothing and/or acceleration going on there but that's just a minor annoyance.
A bigger annoyance though is that when you snipe you have to hold a major praying session before pulling the trigger in hopes of the shot actually hitting the enemy. Hopefully that will get patched.
There's a nice variety of weapons though such as pistols, rifles, rocket launchers and the other usual bunch of first person shooter weapons. There's also a couple of non-lethal weapons such as the P.E.P.S which pretty much knocks out everyone in front of you. There's also your standard grenades and mines (frag, concussion, gas and EMP) to strategize with.
Although the arsenal's impressive enough there are some minor complaints though such as the lack of melee weapons. Instead you have to use the short-range stun gun which has limited ammo or use a takedown skill which you can choose if it's going to kill the enemy with your nice built in elbow blades or if you just want to slap them unconscious. This action requires a battery though but at least it's a 1-hit kill/KO.
...unless it's a boss fight.
Now we get to the bad part of the game. The people behind the bosses clearly went to the Metal Gear Solid 4 school of boss battles. The man behind the soundtrack probably went to the same school (this will be my quickly thrown in mention of the soundtrack because frankly it only had one or two songs that I actually remember because they were just there, they felt like bland versions of the Metal Gear Solid 4 soundtrack. This is a real shame considering how memorable the soundtrack of the first game was. At least some tunes from the first game makes cameo appearances. Could this parenthesis be longer?).
Back on topic with the boss battles, being a game all about choice this part of the game really dropped the ball. The only way to beat a boss is through the art of war. No sneaking, hacking or escaping to be found here I'm afraid. So you'd better hold on to a lethal weapon or two even if you're doing a pacifist run (which is also dumb considering that wastes inventory space). The bosses are very easy even on the highest difficulty though and if you don't want to carry lethal weapons on you when not necessary it's pretty obvious when there's a boss battle approaching (weapons laying around and a big room at the end of a corridor showing up on the map).
The bosses themselves are about as relevant as they were in Metal Gear Solid 4 too. They show up at the beginning, mess you up and then they just appear without any relation to the main character really (I miss you Gunther Hermann). They're not even fun. If this team makes another game they definitely need to work on the bosses. This is my only major complaint about this game asides from the wonky scope aiming.
The book and its cover.
Here's a spoiler-free rundown of the story: It's the year 2027, you get turned into an augmented man without any say in the matter due to an attack at your workplace. 6 months later you wake up and try to find out the truth while doing missions for your boss in a world where augmented and pure humans are in conflict about this whole augmented human business. During the game you get to explore the city of Detroit and the Chinese city Heng-Sha. Both of these hubs are well made and exploration is rewarding. Choices made during the game affects the story later on in different ways which is also good fun and makes multiple playthroughs more varied. There are also some very well made side-quests to do for extra experience points, money and items. The art style of the game, dubbed Cyber Renaissance is also unique and looks great most of the time.
The graphics themselves looks pretty good except for some characters' faces. There also seems to be a glitch with one of the settings making characters having white and black dots flickering here and there. The game also seems to have some kind of fetish for a dark yellow goldish colour which actually doesn't look that bad. Thumbs up for the graphics in other words if they patch that graphical glitch.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a prequel that suffers from modernisation but still manages to live up to the name. It plays pretty good, it has a lot of fun augmentations, rewarding exploration, unique art style and it's varied. As is the tradition of games nowadays it also has DLC that's cut out of the game unless of course you pre-ordered or got a certain edition of the game which is a bad practice but for the people who didn't get that it wasn't really anything important. The story's pretty decent but being a prequel also means that the ending you choose won't have as huge of an impact on humanity as the original games so the story suffers slightly from that. The game took me about 25 hours to beat on the hardest difficulty and doing all the side-quests my first time through. I definitely see myself coming back to this title to play through it in different ways and to just mess around. Overall it's a recommended buy.
Voice Acting: Not the best but at least the Chinese sounds better than in the original/10
Story: Better than a lot of games but left a lot of things unsolved/10
Art Style: Great/10
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Deus Ex: Human Revolution (EU, 08/26/11)
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